Prof. Dr. Wilbert Spooren

Wilbert Spooren is professor of Discourse Studies of Dutch in the Dept. of Modern Languages & Cultures (Faculty of Arts) and works a.o. on the accessibility of governmental and organizational communication to broad target groups, including low-literacy audiences. He has published internationally and nationally on coherence and discourse structure in various genres and is particularly interested in language use in new media.

Wilbert Spooren is interested in the role of language in optimizing communication in different genres. More specifically he investigates how people rely on structural signals in planning or interpreting a discourse, and how this depends on the genre of the discourse. In related lines of research he investigates how subjectivity in journalistic discourse has changed over time. Currently he is interested in the analysis of new media discourse, where new questions of coherence and text quality arise: how do language users track coherence in multi-modal dynamic contexts, where hypertextual linkage is the norm? He also focuses on the use of computational tools for the analyses of such phenomena.

Wilbert has supervised PhD theses on such varied topics as subjectivity in news discourse, the persuasive effects of layout in advertising, the conceptual and linguistic complexity of nominalization, the effectiveness of using Twitter to create feelings of safety, Dutch and English sentence complexity in different genres, the relationship between police interrogations and the police record of such an interrogation, and the use of narratives in computer games.

Wilbert Spooren